Burt Rutan, the visionary engineering genius who revolutionized the design, fabrication and performance of air and spacecraft, has emerged from retirement to do for publishing what he did for flying — reimagine and reinvent it.
In a news release emailed to Aerotech News, Rutan included links to what he calls BRAB, the Burt Rutan AutoBiography.
Breaking the limiting barriers of printing and binding, BRAB is a digitally unconstrained, searchable and interactive multi-media record of one extraordinarily gifted man’s human experience, memories, body of work, opinions and relationships. And it welcomes feedback from visitors to the website.
The plan is to release this living document in sections over several years. Rutan explains in his announcement that initially BRAB will be released in sections over several year, free to being downloaded with restrictions on distribution.
As envisioned in Rutan’s introduction, BRAB would offer the informational resources of a traditional brick and mortar library, but with universal access and without requiring construction costs. Given Burt Rutan’s career accomplishments and universal recognition, a complete picture of his life and times would likely rival the size and scope of a Presidential Library. Five of his creations are, after all, on permanent display in the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum.
Burt thought a website focused on correcting inaccurate or misleading information would be helpful to those researching his activities. In compiling and reviewing online material, Burt wanted to also share fun-to-read stories — all free to download for an online adventure.
The table of contents divides the autobiography into nine sections incorporating 86 chapters. The first three sections offer chronological history from childhood through Air Force Flight Testing and the home-built era from 1968 to 2005. Section Four covers the Scaled Composites years from 1981 to his retirement in 2011. Section Five is devoted to Leadership Lessons Learned. Six includes four chapters on meeting and dealing with famous people.
In Chapter Seven, Burt opens the personal side with stories of important life experience, including “Five Romantic Relationships,” and the intriguing “Russian Wing-Ship Project- Getting Arrested in Moscow.”
Section Eight is a revealing introspective on “The Big Questions,” beginning with “What Did I Accomplish?” And Section Nine examines “Hundreds of Preliminary Designs That Never Flew,” and the always-titillating roses, brickbats and last words on media coverage.
BRAB already has more than 100 links to major media articles and video interviews and features.
Burt explains, “My son, Jeff, is working on a professional web-based Application that will give readers a far better way to navigate BRAB on any device and seeing what is released and what will be released in the future.”
That web Application will be posted at burtrutan.com when completed.
Burt goes on to say, “When will BRAB be finished? I expect it will take about a year to release all the 86 chapters … Then maybe I can finally retire. Actually, BRAB will not have a finish-line since we plan to always keep updating it.”
The Table of Contents is at:
Included in this release are 6 of the 86 Chapters and documents that describe the contents of all of the nine Sections. Readers can access all 16 of the first-release documents at
There are no restrictions on distribution of any of the BRAB information, which can be used and published at any time, without permissions to publish. And Rutan says no fees or royalties are asked.
He says, “The next Chapter for release will be Chapter 35, about my Legacy-Milestone — the first (and still only) Manned Space Program that was done without help or without funding from any government.
“Also, you are encouraged to provide feedback to help us improve BRAB. If you see errors or want to suggest additions or deletions, just tap on the email@example.com link to send an email with your comments.
Although officially retired, Rutan suggest in his announcement, “Actually I hope to first develop at least one more Manned Research Aircraft, to bring the total to the nice round-number of 50.”
Meanwhile, he says he’s “Lookin up … Way up.”